LOAN REPAYMENT PROGRAM FOR HEALTH DISPARITIES RESEARCH

RELEASE DATE:  October 16, 2003

NOTICE:  NOT-MD-04-001 

National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD)  
 (http://www.ncmhd.nih.gov)

APPLICATION PERIOD: September 1, 2003, through 5 PM EST, December 31, 
2003

THIS NOTICE CONTAINS THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION:

o Purpose of this Notice
o Program Objectives
o Funds Available
o Award Criteria
o Eligible Applicants
o Eligible Institutions
o Where to Send Inquiries
o Submitting a New Application
o Receipt and Peer Review Process
o Application Materials
o Submitting a Renewal Application
o Receipt, Review and Award Schedule 
o Citations of Federal Authority

PURPOSE OF THIS NOTICE

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Center on 
Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD) announce the 2004 Loan 
Repayment Program for Health Disparities Research (HDR-LRP or Program). 
The HDR-LRP provides for the repayment of educational loan debt of up to 
$35,000 annually for qualified health professionals conducting minority 
health or other health disparities research for domestic non-profit or 
government entities.  In addition, the program will cover up to 39 
percent of the federal tax liability resulting from loan repayments, and 
may provide reimbursement for state and local tax liabilities. 
Participants must conduct research for 50 percent of their time, or not 
less than 20 hours per week based upon a 40-hour work week, for a two-
year period.  

HDR-LRP applications will be accepted from September 1 through December 
31, 2003.  They must be submitted via the NIH Loan Repayment Website, 
http://www.lrp.nih.gov.

PROGRAM OBJECTIVES

The objective of the HDR-LRP is the recruitment and retention of highly 
qualified health professionals to research careers that focus on 
minority health or other health disparities issues.  

The Program serves as an avenue for NIH and the NCMHD to engage and 
promote the development of research programs that reflect the variety of 
issues and problems associated with disparities in health status.  In 
addition, the statutory requirement that the Director, NCMHD, ensure 
that not fewer than 50 percent of the contracts are awarded to qualified 
health professionals that are members of health disparities populations 
highlights the need for the involvement of a cadre of culturally 
competent health professionals in minority health and other health 
disparities research.

“Health disparities population” as determined by the Director of NCMHD, 
after consultation with the Director of the Agency for Healthcare 
Research and Quality, is defined as a population where there is 
significant disparity in the overall rate of disease incidence, 
prevalence, morbidity, mortality, or survival rates in the population as 
compared to the health status of the general population.   For purposes 
of this announcement, the following populations are determined to be 
health disparity populations: Blacks/African Americans, 
Hispanics/Latinos, Native Americans, Alaska Natives, Asian Americans, 
Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders and the medically underserved such 
as individuals from the Appalachian region.

“Health disparities research” is defined as basic, clinical, or 
behavioral research on a health disparities population (including 
individual members and communities of such populations) including the 
causes of such health disparities and methods to prevent, diagnose and 
treat such disparities. 

“Medically underserved” refers to individuals that lack access to 
primary and specialty care either because they are socioeconomically 
disadvantaged and may or may not live in areas with high poverty rates 
or because they reside in rural areas.  The term also refers to 
individuals that reside in geographic areas where the Index of Medical 
Underservice (IMU) is 62 or less.  The Health Resource Services 
Administration (HRSA) criteria designates a service area with an IMU of 
62 or less as a “medically underserved area (MUA)”. The IMU is a 
weighted score derived from four variables: the ratio of primary medical 
care physicians per 1,000 population, infant mortality rate, percentage 
of population below the federal poverty level, and percentage of the 
population age 65 years or over.    

“Minority health conditions” refers to all diseases, disorders, and 
other conditions (including mental health and substance abuse) that are 
unique to, more serious, or more prevalent in racial and ethnic 
minorities, for which the medical risk factors or types of medical 
interventions may be different, or research involving such populations 
as subjects or data on such individuals is insufficient.

“Minority health disparities research” is defined as basic, clinical, or 
behavioral research on minority health conditions, including research to 
prevent, diagnose, and treat such conditions.

FUNDS AVAILABLE   

The NCMHD intends to commit $6.6 million in fiscal year 2004 to fund 
approximately 150 HDR-LRP participants.

AWARD CRITERIA

For both new and renewal applications, awards will be based upon merit 
scoring by peer review committees and the availability of funds.

ELIGIBLE APPLICANTS

Specific eligibility criteria for the HDR-LRP include the following:

Applicants must be United States citizens, nationals, or permanent 
residents.

Applicants must have a Ph.D., M.D., D.O., D.D.S., D.M.D., D.P.M., 
Pharm.D., D.C., N.D., or equivalent doctoral degree from an accredited 
institution.
 
Applicants must be supported by a domestic non-profit institution (tax 
exempt under 26 USC 501) or a Federal or domestic state or local 
government entity and devote at least 50 percent of their time (not less 
than 20 hours per week based upon a 40 hour work week) to minority 
health or other health disparities research. 

Applicants must have total qualifying educational debt equal to at least 
20 percent of their institutional base salary at the time of award 
(projected to be between June 1 and August 1, 2004).  Institutional base 
salary is the annual compensation that the applicant’s organization pays 
for the individual’s appointment, whether the time is spent on research, 
teaching, patient care, or other activities.  Base salary excludes any 
income that an individual may be permitted to earn outside of the duties 
to the applicant organization.  It cannot include any income earned as a 
Federal employee.  

The applicant’s sponsoring entity must certify that the applicant will 
receive minority health or other health disparities research support for 
two years; the applicant will engage in qualified minority health or 
other health disparities research for 50 percent or more of his/her 
working hours (not less than 20 hours per week based upon a 40 hour work 
week), and its non-profit status.  The institution must also provide the 
applicant’s base salary.  

Applicants must agree to conduct research for which funding is not 
prohibited by Federal law, regulations, or DHHS/NIH policy.  Recipients 
who receive HDR-LRP awards must conduct their research in accordance 
with applicable Federal, state and local law (e.g., applicable human 
subject protection regulations).

No individual may submit more than one LRP application to the NIH in any 
fiscal year.  Unsuccessful HDR-LRP applicants may reapply in subsequent 
fiscal years.

Any individual with a Federal judgment lien arising from a Federal debt 
cannot receive program funds until the judgment is satisfied.  
Similarly, individuals with existing service obligations to Federal, 
state, or other government entities remain ineligible until the service 
is discharged or deferred during the LRP contract period. 

Recipients of postdoctoral Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service 
Award (NRSA) support from an individual postdoctoral fellowship (F32) or 
an institutional research training grant (T32) will be eligible for loan 
repayment during the second year of NRSA support if a formal extension 
of the NRSA service payback is granted (see 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-02-109.html).  
Concurrent repayment of LRP and NRSA service obligations is prohibited.

Full-time employees of Federal government agencies are ineligible to 
apply for NIH loan repayment.  Part-time Federal employees – employed by 
a Federal agency 20 hours or less per week - are eligible to apply if 
they meet all other eligibility requirements, including commitment of at 
least 20 hours per week based upon a 40 hour work week in qualifying 
research for which they are not compensated as a Federal employee.  

Applicants will not be excluded from consideration on the basis of age, 
race, culture, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or 
other non-merit factors. 

WHERE TO SEND INQUIRIES

For questions on the HDR-LRP program, please see the LRP website at 
http://www.lrp.nih.gov, send an email to lrp@nih.gov, call the LRP helpline at 
(866) 849-4047 or contact the NCMHD Loan Repayment Coordinator, Kenya 
McRae, at (301) 402-1366 or via email: mcraek@ncmhd.nih.gov.     

SUBMITTING AN APPLICATION

All applications must be submitted via the LRP Website at 
http://www.lrp.nih.gov from September 1, 2003, through December 31, 2003 at 5 
P.M. EST.  

All applicants and renewal applicants are encouraged to review the 
eligibility requirements and application procedures for the Program 
located at the LRP website at http://www.lrp.nih.gov.  

RECEIPT AND PEER REVIEW PROCESS (New and Renewal Applicants)

Upon receipt, applications for both initial awards and renewals will be 
reviewed for eligibility and completeness by the NIH Office of Loan 
Repayment.  Incomplete or ineligible applications will not be 
considered.  Applications that are complete and eligible will be 
forwarded to the NCMHD for peer review.  

In evaluating the application, reviewers will be directed to consider 
the following criteria: 

a.  Potential of the applicant to pursue a career in minority health or 
other health disparities research:  

o Appropriateness of the applicant’s previous training and experience to 
prepare him/her for a minority health or other health disparities 
research career.
o Suitability of the applicant’s proposed minority health or other 
health disparities research activities in the two-year loan repayment 
period.
o The applicant’s stated commitment to a research career.
o Recommendations attesting to the applicant’s potential for a research 
career.

b. Quality of the applicant’s overall research environment:

o Availability of appropriate scientific colleagues to achieve and 
enhance the applicant’s research independence.
o Quality and appropriateness of institutional resources and facilities.

APPLICATION MATERIALS (New and Renewal Applicants)

The following information is furnished by applicants or others on behalf 
of applicants (forms are to be completed electronically at the NIH LRP 
Website, http://www.lrp.nih.gov):

Applicants electronically transmit the following to the NIH Office of 
Loan Repayment:  

o Applicant information statement.
o Biosketch.
o Personal statement, which includes a discussion of career goals and   
academic objectives.
o Description of research activities, which describes the current or 
proposed research project including the specific responsibilities and 
role of the applicant in conducting the research.  The research 
supervisor or mentor will be asked to concur.  
o Identification of three recommenders (including research supervisor or 
mentor).
o Identification of institutional contact.
o On-line certification.
o Loan information, including current account statement(s), and 
promissory note(s) or disclosure statement(s), obtained from lending 
institution(s), submitted via facsimile to 866-849-4046.
o If applying based on NIH support, Notice of Grant/Award (or PHS Form 
2271 for Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA training fellowships). 

Research supervisors or mentors electronically transmit the following to 
the NIH Office of Loan Repayment:

o Recommendation.
o Biosketch.
o Assessment of the research activities statement submitted by the 
applicant.
o Description of the research environment, which provides detailed 
information about the lab where the applicant is or will be conducting 
research, including funding, lab space, and major areas under 
investigation.  
o Training or mentoring plan, which includes a detailed discussion of 
the training or mentoring plan, including a discussion of the research 
methods and scientific techniques to be taught.  

Recommenders electronically transmit recommendation forms to the NIH 
Office of Loan Repayment.  

Institutional contacts electronically transmit a certification to the 
NIH Office of Loan Repayment that: 

o Assures that the applicant will be provided the necessary time and 
resources to engage in the research project for two years from the date 
o Loan Repayment Program Contract is executed; 
o Assures that the applicant is or will be engaged in qualifying 
research for 50 percent of their work effort or not less than 20 hours 
per week based upon a 40 hour work week; 
o Certifies that the sponsoring entity is a domestic non-profit 
institution (exempt from tax liability under 26 U.S.C. 501); and 
o Identifies the applicant’s institutional base salary.
 
SUBMITTING A RENEWAL APPLICATION 

Recipients of NIH loan repayments who wish to extend their NIH loan 
repayment should reapply during the 2004 application cycle if their 
initial LRP contract began in 2002.

LRP renewal contracts are available for one- and two-year periods and 
are based upon the same criteria as the initial contract.  An 
explanation of research accomplishments during the initial award period 
is required.  Progress toward development as an independent investigator 
is a major factor in awarding renewal of loan repayment support.  
Submission of a renewal application does not assure the award of loan 
repayment.

RECEIPT AND REVIEW SCHEDULE

Application Receipt Date:      December 31, 2003, 5 P.M. EST
Peer Review Date:              March-May, 2004
Anticipated Award Date:        June-August, 2004

CITATIONS OF FEDERAL AUTHORITY

Awards are made pursuant to the Minority Health and Health Disparities 
Research and Education Act of 2000 (Public Law 106-525) that added 
Section 485G of the Public Health Service Act (42 USC 287c-33).  The 
Federal Debt Collections Procedures Act of 1990, contained in Public Law 
101-647, requires that an individual that has a judgment lien against 
his/her property for a debt to the United States shall not be eligible 
to receive funds directly from the Federal government in any program, 
except funds to which the debtor is entitled as a beneficiary, until the 
judgment is paid in full or otherwise satisfied (28 U.S.C. 3201).  

The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance number for the Health 
Disparities Research LRP is 93.307.


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